Alternative Woods with Style and Performance

Traditional woods, such as Oak, Maple, and Cherry, have been favorites for home-builders because of their durability, resistance to rotting, and abundant availability.   However, as homeowners look to have a more customized homes with extra personal touches other wood options, such as Poplar, Knotty or Red Alder, and Knotty and Clear Pine, have been growing in popularity. However, there is a vast array of options available beyond these stock staples. While these woods may not be as abundantly available are more traditional woods, more exotic woods can provide unique style and characteristics without taking away from performance.  Here are a few new woods you may not have thought to get you started:

  • Red Cedar: Native to the Northwestern United States and Southwestern Canada, Red Cedar has a tight, straight grain with few knots and offers warm, cinnamon hues. Red Cedar is often a popular choice for posts, decking, shingles and siding because of it is light weight yet had a naturally high resistance to decay. Pairing Red Cedar doors with red cedar decks, siding or shingles will provide stunning curb appeal.
  • Black Locust: Native to the Southeastern United States, Black Locust is a pale, yellowish-brown wood with a straight, closed grain. Black Locust is one of the most durable domestic hardwoods available and its natural resistance to decay makes it an excellent choice for exterior doors.
  • Nootka Cypress: Native to western North America (specifically Canada), Nootka Cypress is prized for its stability and resistance to rotting and shrinkage. Nootka Cypress usually has a uniform, straight grain pattern and a pale yellow coloring.
  • Sapele Mahogany: Sapele Mahogany provides a tight, interlocked graining in medium to dark reddish or purplish brown hues which tend to darken with age. The unique characteristic of the Sapele graining and varied colors provide much visual appeal and distinction.
  • Honduran Mahogany: Native to Central and South America, Honduran Mahogany offers a warm appearance with stability and durability. Honduran Mahogany features an open graining that can be straight, interlocked, irregular, or wavy. Its coloring ranges from pale pinkish brown to a darker reddish brown and tend to darken with age.
  • Walnut: An American classic, Walnut is often overlooked when thinking in terms of doors and millwork. Black Walnut generally has an open, straight grain with chocolate-brown hues while English Walnut features a straight but irregular grain with hues ranging from pale brown to a dark chocolate brown. Walnut is quite reflective of a typical Colonial architectural style.
  • Bamboo: Most Bamboo comes from South Asia, but that doesn’t mean that its unique styles and characteristics cannot be enjoyed in the Midwest. Bamboo is actually a part of the grass family, thus it does not have the usually growth rings and graining of traditional woods. With a uniform texture and a pale yellow almost white coloring, Bamboo can be incorporated into doors, cabinets, floors and furnishings for an truly unique home style.

Exotic Wood Species